Thursday, November 30, 2006

So what's new?

Gee, you miss a couple of days blogging and the world turns inside out.
Or maybe not -- did you know that the US failure in Iraq is not the Bush administration's fault at all?
Nope. Apparently the conventional wisdom among the Washington pundits now is to blame it on:
a) the craven Iraqi people
b) the cowardly American people
c) Both

Fired by fax

for telling the truth:
. . . [In]a recent speech to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce . . . [Wheat Board president] Measner warned of the dire economic consequences for the board, the City of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba if the government allows competition.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

They've lost it

The Americans who supported the war in Iraq are now going completely crazy.
Tristero reports Rush Limbaugh says, "Fine, just blow the place up" while leading liberal hawk Jonathan Chait says, "Bring back Saddam Hussein!" Crooks and Liars reports that NYT's Tom Friedman wants to declare a mulligan and start over. And Bush says its all Iraq's fault -- he's going to ask the Iraq prime minister "What is your strategy in dealing with the sectarian violence?"
Yglesias explains the motivation behind this hysteria:
The primary question facing America's pundit class today is how to avoid responsibility for the situation in Iraq, which is almost certain to get much worse over the next two or three years . . . Anyone who defends Bush's strategy is going to wind up looking bad, because after continuing to fail for a while it will be abandonned in favor of withdrawal. Anyone who advocates withdrawal is going to wind up looking bad, because eventually it will be implemented and bad stuff will happen down the road. Consequently, what you need to go is suggest a pony hunt in some territory where you're sure the administration won't go looking (calls for a regional conference are the center-left version of this) that way when the stay-the-course-until-eventually-you-leave cycle plays out, you get to claim that if only they'd followed my advice the war would have been won. Meanwhile, blame for defeat will be located primarily not on George W. Bush, but on the stab-in-the-back crowd on the left who made it politically impossible for Bush to find the pony.
Funny? Why yes, yes it is -- as long as we try to forget that there are hundreds of thousands of real people dying over there.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Great line of the day

Finally, the Cindy Sheehan question is being asked -- just what are Americans supposed to achieve in Iraq?.
Juan Cole writes:
. . . What is the mission? When will it be accomplished?
At what point will the people of Ramadi wake up in the morning and say, 'We've changed our minds. We like the new government dominated by Shiite ayatollahs and Kurdish warlords. We're happy to host Western Occupation troops on our soil. We don't care if those troops are allied with the Israeli military, which is daily bombing our brethren in Gaza and killing them and keeping them down. We're changed persons. We're not going to bother to set any IEDs tonight and we've put away our sniping rifles.'
(You could substitute Tikrit, Samarra, Baquba, and other Sunni Arab cities for Ramadi).
It is not going to happen. In fall, 2003, 14 percent of Sunni Arabs thought it was legitimate to attack US personnel in Iraq. Now over 70 percent do. Isn't it going toward 100 percent? . . .
What is the military mission? I can't see a practical one. And if there is not a military mission that can reasonably be accomplished in a specified period of time, then keeping US troops in al-Anbar is a sort of murder. Because you know when they go out on patrol, a few of them each week are going to get blown up or shot down. Reliably. Each week. Steadily. It is monstrous to force them to play Russian roulette every day unless there is a clear mission that could thereby be accomplished. There is not.
Emphasis mine.

Super Dogs

Here are some great photos from the Super Dogs Carnival in Japan.
Australian Shepherd

Miniature Poodle

Jack Russell Terriers

Toy Poodle

Boston Terrier

Reality vs. fantasy

First, the reality.
As Iraq descends into what will be one of the world's most violent civil wars, British MP Boris Johnson writes a story in the Telgraph newspaper, I remember the quiet day we lost the war in Iraq:

. . . I was wandering around Baghdad, about 10 days after Iraq had been "liberated", and it seemed to me that the place was not entirely without hope.
OK, so the gunfire popped round every corner like popcorn on a stove, and civil society had broken down so badly that the looters were taking the very copper from the electricity cables in the streets. But I was able to stroll without a flak jacket and eat shoarma and chips in the restaurants.
With no protection except for Isaac, my interpreter, I went to the Iraqi foreign ministry, and found the place deserted. The windows were broken, and every piece of computer equipment had been looted. As I was staring at the fire-blackened walls a Humvee came through the gates . . . . a figure begin to unpack his giraffe-like limbs from the shady interior of the Humvee. He was one of those quiet Americans that you sometimes meet in odd places. . . .
he walked slowly towards the shattered foreign ministry building, stroking his chin. Then he walked back towards us, and posed a remarkable question. "Have you, uh, seen anyone here?" he asked.
Nope, we said. All quiet here, we said. Quiet as the grave.
"Uhuh," he said, and started to get back in the Humvee. And then I blurted my own question: "But who are you?" I asked. "Oh, let's just say I work for the US government," he sighed. "I was just wondering if anyone was going to show up for work," he said. "That's all."
And that, of course, was the beginning of the disaster. Nobody came to work that day, or the next, or the one after that, because we failed to understand what our intervention would do to Iraqi society. We failed to anticipate that in taking out Saddam, we would also remove government and order and authority from Iraq.
We destroyed the Baathist state, without realising that nothing would supplant it. The result was that salaries went unpaid, electricity was not generated, sanitation was not provided, and all the disorder was gradually and expertly fomented until it was quite beyond our control.
And what we had failed to see in advance was that almost from the outset the Iraqis would blame us – and not just the insurgents – for every distress they experienced.
It is now commonplace for people like me, who supported the war, to say that we "did the right thing" but that it had mysteriously "turned out wrong". This is intellectually vacuous. It is like saying British strategy for July 1, 1916 was perfect, but let down by faulty execution. The thing was a disaster from the moment we invaded . . .
Yes, well, I would argue that it has been a disaster BECAUSE America and Britian invaded.
Because they never had the right to invade Iraq in the first place.
Second, here is the fantasy - William Pfaff describes the fantastical war which the US leadership thinks it is fighting:

At Harvard a few weeks ago, Gen. John Abizaid, head of the American Central Command, responsible for operations in Iraq, said that if a way is not found to stem the rise of Islamic militancy, there will be a third World War.
I do not understand from where in the labyrinths of Pentagon and Washington think-tank deliberations, grounds are found for such sensationalist forecasts by people in responsible positions in and out of American government. Henry Kissinger has made the same forecast, while readjusting his personal position from support for the war to a prediction that the war can't be won, but that it nonetheless should continue.
Who is going to fight this third World War? Presumably Islamic militants against the United States (with such allies as remain, now that Britain is leaving). That is not a World War.
It is war of American intervention in foreign countries to stamp out movements supported by at least a part of the people there. We are doing that in Iraq and it's not working, nor did it work in Somalia or Vietnam.
Why go on with it? These movements or countries cannot invade or overthrow the government of the United States. Hijacking airplanes, blowing up the Sears Tower, anthrax in the reservoirs, nerve gas in the New York subway, or even a rogue nuclear explosion at the Super Bowl would not cause the U.S. government to totter and fall, sending masses of Americans to adopt Islam, install Sharia in the place of the U.S. Constitution, while putting 300 million Americans into beards and burqas. Surely Osama bin Laden and his colleagues are clever enough to know they can't win a World War.
Ah, the promulgators of the new World War theory say, the terrorists have already told us that they will first seize power in Iraq (and Iran), proclaim a new universal caliphate, and take power with the support of the masses in Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan and the Maghreb.
Then Western Europe, enfeebled by welfare governments and cowardice, in need of oil and subverted from within by Islamic minority populations, will submit to al-Qaida, or appease it (Europe's people turning themselves into "Euarabs," as one recent American scenario has it). That will leave a heroic America standing alone, battling the Islamic hordes.
This is puerile fantasy. Yet Abizaid said to his Harvard audience: "Think of (today) as a chance to confront fascism in 1920. If we only had the guts to do it!" More fantasy and misinformation. There was nothing to confront in 1920. The Fascist party did not exist until 1921, and Mussolini did not form a government until 1923, when it won general praise in America and Britain for its spirit and efficiency.
But enough of this. The third World War that the Pentagon, Kissinger and the administration warn would follow U.S. failure in Iraq is a reverse reading of the bloated claims of the leaders of one radicalized group of Islamic activists, a tiny minority in an Islamic world of a billion people, claiming that they can return their fellow-Muslims to the practices of the late Middle Ages, so as to purge modern Islam of what they consider its corruption. They might believe this, but why should Kissinger and Abizaid?
. . . The only way there now can be a "third World War" is for the United States to insist on staying on in Iraq, and go into Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and other states as well, no doubt allied with Israel. Even in that case, it would not be the great clash of ideology and geopolitics that Gen. Abizaid foresees. It would be a narrow war of illusion and ideology which most American allies would wish to avoid.
It would be a struggle by the Islamic people to get the United States out of their countries and out of their lives. American intervention in the Islamic world started long before 9/11. The United States is fighting the ignored legacy of its own past policies. It is time to call an armistice, and go home.
The US leadership is inflating the Iraq insurgency into some kind of global fighting force led by Worst-Than-Hitlers for two reasons -- they have a deeply ingrained belief that the Most Powerful And Well Equipped Military In The World simply cannot be losing a war against just a bunch of 'rag-heads' making bombs in their basements. And they try to justify this illegal war by giving themsevles a High Moral Purpose, to Defend The World From the Caliphate -- which is, of course, Worse Than Hitler.
The US people, I think, know the difference between fantasy and reality.

UPDATE: Bill Scher's Sunday Talkshow Breakdown is back, and this week's talk shows were all about Iraq. Scher provides a frame to view the reality vs fantasy question:
. . . That is evidence of further momentum for the idea of regional talks including Iran and Syria [but] would that amount to a fundamental shift in foreign policy -- away from the unilateralists and neocons and towards the internationalists and realists?
By itself, no. . . . Heed the warning from former Carter-era National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, offered on CNN yesterday, flagged by Think Progress:
The Baker commission will probably come out with some sound advice on dealing with the neighborhood, with Iran, with the Israeli-Palestinian issues, which is relevant but essentially will offer some procrastination ideas for dealing with the crisis.
The fact of the matter is, the undertaking itself is fundamentally wrong-headed ... This is a mistaken, absolutely historically wrong undertaking...
If we get out sooner, there will be a messy follow-up after we leave. It will be messy, but will not be as messy as if we stay, seeking to win in some fashion.
In other words, unless actual foreign policy objectives change, mere tactical shifts won't solve anything.
The crystallization of the current objectives is the permanent military bases.
Trying to exert control over Iraq's political system and natural resources via permanent occupation is the main destabilizing force -- strengthening terrorist organizations and giving incentive to Iran and Syria to be counterproductive.
If you don't renounce the bases, and the plans for further "regime change" that go with them, then talks with Iran and Syria will be nothing but a show.
Much like how the six-party talks involving North Korea have gone nowhere. Because Dubya's Asia policy still centers on constraining China, China has no incentive to help out.
So when sizing up the final product from the ISG -- and more importantly, Bush's actions thereafter -- watch to see if they renounce and begin to dismantle the permanent bases.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Update from Afghanistan

The Independent newspaper provides us with a summary of the latest news from Afghanistan.
First, of course, there aren't enough NATO troops -- well, we already knew that.
Other than that, the recent news is OK:
A series of truces at local and national level, produced by informal talks between Hamid Karzai's government with the Taliban and its Islamist ally, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, appear to be holding for the time being. Sources close to the Taliban admitted to The Independent on Sunday that the insurgents had suffered during Nato's recent offensive in the Kandahar region, Operation Medusa.
There is also the traditional Afghan break from campaigning during the winter, and the fact this is the poppy planting season. The Taliban, like others in Afghanistan, profit from heroin and do not want to disrupt production.
But the news for the spring is more ominous:
The British commander of NATO's forces in Afghanistan, Lt-Gen David Richards, sought to speed up development work when he took over in mid-2006, believing it was essential to win public support. He also helped President Karzai set up an action group to co-ordinate security operations with aid work. But his tenure is due to end early in the new year, and the Pentagon has successfully lobbied to replace him with an American who is expected to take a far more aggressive stance. . . .
The Taliban may also return to confrontation as winter recedes. According to Islamist sources, Mr Hekmatyar's tentative talks with the Afghan government have run into opposition from his al-Qa'ida allies. The most active of the Taliban commanders, Mullah Dadullah Akhund, is strongly against any truce, and it will be easy to replace the fighters lost or killed during the summer from madrasas, or religious schools, across the border in Pakistan.
I hope our Canadian soldiers won't be cannon fodder in a confrontation between an aggressive American commander and a hostile Taliban one.
UPDATE: Hmmm, may have spoken too soon.

Corner Gas

Corner Gas is coming to the world. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Great line of the day

Does anyone still remember how Linus was shocked and appalled to discover that his beloved Miss Othmar actually accepted money for being his teacher?
Of course, this happened in 1961 -- and in another world.
Driftglass has a post on the military which also includes some comments about the attitude in our society now toward working in any kind of service-type job where you don't get particularly well paid:
. . . we have done far, far too good a job in this country explaining to people in every social class, using words of one syllable, that if you do your thing for love or the common good, you’re a mush-skulled hippy idjit destined for a work farm . . . We don’t have hero teachers and RNs here. I profoundly wish we did, but we don’t. We have “Wall Street” heroes. We have rock star pro athletes and CEOs who are paid like pashas for what are basically culturally irrelevant skills, and then celebrated for their salaries.
We honor privilege and bling, not service.
We tell people here, in no uncertain terms, that you aren’t what you do; you are what you’re paid, regardless of what iniquities you may commit to make your nut . . . It is a perfect, brutal little downward spiral that makes us less humane and more bestial every day.
Emphasis mine.

Tis the season

Chaos Theory gives us a list of gifts for people you don't like very much. Here are some that made me laugh:
- A beautiful piece of clothing that is either several sizes too big if the recipient is thin (implying that the person looks fatter than they are) or several sizes too small if the recipient is overweight. If the latter, perhaps write in the card insinuating that the recipient should aspire to fit into it.
- The DVD of Charlotte's Web for someone with arachnophobia
- Darling, I knew you wanted a blender!
- One year my aunt and uncle got me a supersoaker without getting my little brother one. The next year, my parents got my cousin a slingshot.
- I had a rabidly homophobic acquaintence that had a big birthday party. Some friends and I bought him a nice tee-shirt, from the International Male catalogue, and had it delivered to his home. This simple act placed him on many a GLB mailing list.
- My brother, who is now a vet, got an inflatable love sheep for his last birthday. I didn't tell him about it, so he opened it in front of his girlfriend's relatives.
- A very long, dry book that you've raved about. Ask them every two days if they still haven't finished it, with a look of outrage and pity.
- For Christmas of my third and fourth year alive, my uncle sent (respectively) a gumball machine and a mini drum set. We didn't see much of him for the next few years.
- Thick wool sweaters for people living in Florida, Hawaii, etc.
- I gave the boy next door the Masters of the Universe Mutant Slime Pit for his birthday one year. It was this great toy that let you strap a He-Man action figure into it and then dump a jar of green goo on his head. Though it has long been obvious to me why his parents never invited me to another birthday party, it has only just now occurred to me that my parents MUST have known the effect the gift would have. I mean, I was maybe 8 years old--they must have approved and even paid for the thing.
- A friend's parents received a large, perpetually angry parrot for their wedding. from the groom's brother. without warning, without ever having expressed the desire for one. a) wtf parrot? b) those things live to be like 150 years old -- their grandkids will be able to hate this bird as much as they do.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Avoid history at all costs

Dana at Galloping Beaver says It's Not News That Harper Supports Breakup of Federation:
Harper continues to work toward achieving what he has always said he wants to achieve, that being the elimination of the federal government's presence in the lives of citizens.
He's just starting with Quebecers.
My Blahg has more reactions to Harper's "nation within a nation" motion.
My opinion? Harper has grabbed a tiger by the tail. He has inadvertently achieved an "historical" moment in Canada -- he has made the kind of statement which may well be used in the future to justify or explain or excuse a great number of unforeseeable actions both within and outside Quebec -- maybe in five or ten or 15 years we will be saying "the separatists were revitalized when Harper said..." and "all this violence began when Harper said..." and even "the first step toward the dissolution of Canada happened when Harper said..."
And he did it thoughtlessly, not for any noble purpose or to achieve any long-term vision for the country, but just because he was trying to embarass the Liberals and flip off the Bloc at the same time.
The day before, the Harper government was were talking about military cargo planes and the next day, they were pandering to the law and order types by talking about bail reform.
I hope Canada doesn't rue this day. But I am reminded of what Gary Kamiya wrote in Salon in March, 2003, when he predicted that the invasion of Iraq showed every sign of being a profoundly disasterous decision:
. . . we have gone from being in a political moment to a historical one.
I use the words somewhat eccentrically, to distinguish between events that are simple enough to be fully explicable ("political") and those that are too complex to be defined ("historical").
The war against Afghanistan took place in what I am calling the political realm: It had a clear, limited and achievable goal, one understood by all -- and widely supported around the world. The impending war against Iraq, on the other hand, is a historical event. It cannot be explained or defined. When it comes, it will simply exist, with the opacity of history. Its outcome is not foreseeable.
The distinction also has a moral dimension. To exist in history is to have passed beyond the pieties and slogans of the political. History is tragic: politics is not. History is glorious. It is also fatal.
. . . The lesson every government should have learned from the bloody 20th century, one written in blood across the tortured soil of old, very old Europe, is very simple: Avoid history at all costs. History is too big, too abstract, too dangerous. Avoid men with Big Ideas -- especially stupid men with Big Ideas. Take care of politics: let history take care of itself. In a word, don't play God.

As God is my witness

I thought turkeys could fly -- click for Tbogg's comedy gold.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Dying to save a buck

When it comes to being cheap, the American HMOs have nothing on our homegrown Canadian social service bureaucrat bean-counters.
This poor woman is only 30 years old, and she is dying. And she gets to spend her last days fighting with the Nova Scotia government to pay for the pills that keep her alive a little longer.
Adding insult to injury is this --
Ms. Larkin-Hickman says even if she qualifies for her other drugs, she will have to re-apply every three months.
-- yes, lets make her fill out a whole bunch of forms every 90 days because its just so very important that those entitlements for those lazy welfare bums be calculated right down to the penny. God forbid, if her huband should maybe get a raise, that the Nova Scotia taxpayers should pay an extra few dollars for an extra few pills, for six months instead of three.
Because how else, except by being tightfisted with the dying, is Nova Scotia ever going to pay for the industrial incentives they have announced in the last week, payroll rebates of $1.5 million for one company and $7 million for another, to produce more jobs in Nova Scotia.
Maybe Larkin-Hickman's husband can get a second job with one of these outfits, to keep her alive a little longer.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pundit Hall of Shame

Here is Hilzoy's list:
Jonah Goldberg: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business"
Tom Friedman: "We should arm the Shiites and Kurds and leave the Sunnis of Iraq to reap the wind".
And today from Richard Cohen: "In a post-Sept. 11 world, I thought the prudent use of violence could be therapeutic."
As Hilzoy then notes:
Richard Cohen: resign. Resign right now. . . . Go visit the families of soldiers who have fallen in the interests of what you considered "therapeutic", or the families of any of the of thousands of people who have been kidnapped off the streets of Iraq for no reason, tortured with electric drills, and then found dead behind some abandoned building or floating in the Tigris. Ask them whether they think that the war in Iraq has been "therapeutic". . . .
Why do any of these people still have jobs? Who listens to them anymore?

Great line of the day

In a post titled Blame the damn Hippies…, Johm Amato concludes:
It really burns them up that the flower people were right.

The Ugly Canadian

That's our boy!
After having offended Europe by abruptly cancelling a summit with leaders there, Prime Minister Stephen Harper this past week turned his attention to undermining Canada's relationship with China. The only relationship he appears to take seriously is with the Bush administration in the United States.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Great line of the day

From the Freewayblogger: "Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam"

Ah, the good old days

Digby writes about the newest front in the anti-abortion movement -- glorifying childbearing and trashing birth control:

As I wrote earlier, we have the DLC hiring crackpot sociologists to write articles about liberals outbreeding the conservative movement, David Brooks talking about "natalism," Newsweek writing respectful articles about the Kooky Quiverfuls and now state legislatures connecting immigration to abortion and suggesting that the white women aren't breeding enough. Anybody feeling the hot breath of a new conservative meme on their necks?
Good luck with that. . . .
I do have a good idea how these people can lead by example, however. Every woman who belongs to the forced childbirth movement should sign a contract agreeing to birth at least four snowflake babies and homeschool them. This way they could assure that each woman fulfills her patriotic duty by raising at least four children (more if she wants to pass on her own very special genes) and the nation will have a nice homegrown uneducated workforce to exploit with low wages and bad working conditions. They wouldn't even have to fuck, which I'm sure would be a great relief for all concerned.
You know, the birth control pill was only developed 50 years ago, but I guess people have already forgotten what it was like when women had baby after baby, sometimes spending the years between 20 to 40 either pregnant or nursing.
If they lived through it.
Up until 1960 or so, birth control was unreliable and complicated and the techniques were mostly secret. But women did what they could to avoid pregnancy anyway -- rhythm or withdrawal or condoms -- not because they "hated children" or "wanted to find themselves" -- it was because they wanted to live long enough to raise the children they already had.
In the community where my grandfather homesteaded in 1905, just a hundred years ago, people used to talk about men "going through" two or three or four wives -- because the combination of hard work, pregnancy complications, and repeated forced childbearing would kill them, one after the other.
I don't think we want to go back to that, do we?

Bullfights aren't funny


Will anyone hear the sound of one right wing flapping?
Fox News Channel might air two episodes of a "Daily Show"-like program with a decidedly nonliberal bent on Saturday nights in late January, with the possibility that it could become a weekly show.
The half-hour show would take aim at what executive producer Joel Surnow, the co-creator of "24," calls "the sacred cows of the left" that don't get made as much fun of by other comedy shows.
Well, its pretty difficult to make jokes about dying without health insurance, but have at it, guys. People used to laugh at Amos and Andy, too.
But when I read this story, what I thought of was Mel Blanc's famous anecdote about how Bully for Bugs got made -- maybe it was the "sacred cow" reference that brought this to mind.
According to Chuck Jones, the idea for this cartoon came about one day while he and the writers were trying to come up with a new story for a Bugs cartoon. The producer in charge admonished them, "I don't want no gags about bullfights. Bullfights aren't funny". The thought of putting Bugs in a bullfight hadn't even occurred to Jones, who immediately hit upon it as a great idea, and this resulting cartoon proved to be of the most successful in the Bugs Bunny series.
So maybe somebody at Fox can make Not Having Health Insurance funny. But I don't think Fox News would put up with anyone as subversive as Chuck Jones was.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Science marches on

Non Sequitur:

Who let the Dogs out?

Great news -- Huskies earn home field in Vanier Cup:
"'It's something we've dreamt about all year,' Huskies head coach Brian Towriss said after the game, 'but we've stayed focused on one game at a time."
The Vanier Cup is next weekend in Saskatoon.

Great line of the day

August J. Pollak on women who trash feminism:
I always find women like [Ann] Coulter who spew nonsense about the evils of feminism and women's rights to be hilariously precious. Coulter is a childless, never-married lawyer who reached the highest point of her professional career in her 40's as a self-sufficient freelance social commentator. Sixty years ago, there is not a single part of that previous sentence that would be considered even remotely plausible as an aspect of a successful American female. Coulter, and career anti-feminists like her, have only one honest statement deserving of any feminist's time, and that statement is "thank you."
Emphasis mine.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Great line of the day

Matthew Yglesias writes about how the neocons still believe their beautiful war would have gone just great, except that the Iraqis messed it up:
The neoconservative approach to Iraq has always been marked by a remarkable combination of overoptimism about social and political conditions in Iraq with a not-so-well-veiled racist contempt for Arabs. Obviously, however, one of the major elements of Iraqi society that's made reconstructing it into a democracy under our tutelage is that Iraqis have not felt that it would be a good idea to surrender supreme power over their lives to a foreign occupying force led by people who, rather transparently, don't give a damn about them.
Emphasis mine.

Its because she's a woman

Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi is being attacked by the Kewl Kids Washington press corps.
I wish I could revise Wes Clark's "It's because of Iraq" video to say "It's because she's a woman".
I just hope Pelosi knows about the great quotation from the first female mayor of Ottawa, Charlotte Whitten:
"Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good.
Luckily, this is not difficult."

Leonid Meteor Shower Sunday

The annual Leonid Meteor Shower may be visible in North America just before dawn on Sunday morning.
This photo is from 2001.
It was, I think, in 2002 when I stood out in our backyard peering upwards to watch a meteor shower that was being billed as the shower of the century -- I couldn't see that much because we have too many streetlights around about. But I just wanted to be a part of it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Do as we say, not as we do

The Conservative government is proposing to open a loophole in its vaunted accountability act by declaring that party convention fees not be counted as political contributions under the law . . . the Conservative party [is] under investigation by Elections Canada for failing to declare almost $2 million in fees paid by delegates to the party's 2005 convention . . . "The Tories seem to be now admitting that they have broken the law," said Steven MacKinnon, national director of the Liberal party. . . . [NDP Pat Martin] said. "I guess that's the advantage of being the ruling party - you can correct your mistakes by statute after the fact. We won't support it."

Great post of the day

John at Americablog asks a startling and relevant question -- Would UCLA have tasered Rosa Parks?
Here is his complete post, which I copied in full because I'll likely want to quote from it again someday:
After all, Rosa Parks was black, committed a premeditated crime, and loudly and rudely disrupted the commute of a lot of nice white people who simply wanted to get home after a hard day's work. Bitch.
Then there's Ernesto Miranda - another colored guy. Hell, Miranda wasn't even American - he was one of those Mexicans that Lou Dobbs is always talking about. And Miranda was even worse than Parks. Miranda got arrested, and convicted, of kidnapping and rape. Yeah, real nice guy. According to the court, he was a "seriously disturbed individual with pronounced sexual fantasies." Freak.
Or how about Roy Allen Stewart - robber, murderer, sentenced to death. He was an indigent black guy who dropped out of school in the sixth grade. Loser.
The list goes on. Michael Vignera, robber. Charles Townsend, 19-year-old heroin addict and "near mental defective" accused of murder, and found guilty.
So there you have it:
Uppity black chick.
Illegal Mexican.
Poor grade-school drop-out.
Retarded heroin addict.
American heroes? Hardly. None of these people have anything in common with you or me. Some of them asked for it, others had it coming. These aren't the kind of people our laws are meant to protect.
I'm glad the police repeatedly tasered that student at UCLA, while handcuffed and seated and offering no resistance, for simply not having his ID in a university library. That student was an asshole. And in America, civil rights aren't for assholes, or niggers, or spics, or burn-outs. They're only for people like you and me.
PS In case a few of you haven't figured it out, the names above are all of famous US civil rights cases. Each of those nasty individuals is responsible for you having some of your most important rights as American citizens. Think about that. You have YOUR rights because the courts recognized THEIR rights. That's why cases like this, where the victim is an "asshole," matter. Those assholes are responsible for most of the rights you now take for granted.)

Teaching torture

Once the President and the Secretary of Defense have said its OK to torture "bad" people, where do police draw the line? Here's today's story from UCLA in Los Angeles:
. . . Tabatabainejad had begun to walk toward the door with his backpack. When an officer approached him and grabbed his arm, the witnesses said, Tabatabainejad told the officer to let go, yelling "Get off me" several times. "Tabatabainejad encouraged library patrons to join his resistance," police said. "The officers deemed it necessary to use the Taser."
Officers stunned Tabatabainejad, causing him to fall to the floor . . . "It was beyond grotesque," said UCLA graduate David Remesnitsky of Los Angeles, who witnessed the incident. "By the end they took him over the stairs, lifted him up and Tasered him on his rear end. It seemed like it was inappropriately placed. The Tasering was so unnecessary and they just kept doing it."
And there are other incidents in LA also being investigated:
One video showed a Los Angeles Police Department officer dousing a handcuffed suspect in the face with pepper spray as the suspect sat in a patrol car.
Emphasis mine -- the point being that, in both these incidents, the police were in no danger whatsoever but inflicted pain anyway. Digby writes:
. . . police are not supposed to be in the business of meting out punishment nor are they supposed to use excruciating (even if shortlived) pain to make suspects comply with their orders unless they have absolutely no other choice . . . It's the coldest application of pain I've ever seen.
Well, when it comes to "cold", I think the UCLA incident does have some competition:

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Afghanistan's growth industry

Well, at least one sector of Afghanistan's economy seems to be improving -- dare I say, even flourishing -- according to the US GAO (h/t Cursor):
Opium Production in Afghanistan, 2002 through 2006:
Net opium poppy cultivation (hectares);
2002: 74,000;
2003: 80,000;
2004: 131,000;
2005: 104,000;
2006: 165,000.
Potential opium production (metric tons);
2002: 3,400;
2003: 3,600;
2004: 4,200;
2005: 4,100;
2006: 6,100.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Do what I say, not what I do

Oh yes, our Steve is Mr. Principle when it comes to human rights in China:
Canada will not "sell-out" its position on human rights to cash in on trade and investment with China, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday, firmly putting his government's stamp on relations with the Communist economic powerhouse . . . I don't think Canadians want us to sell out important Canadian values - our belief in democracy, freedom, human rights," Harper said.
But when it comes to Canadian gays and lesbians, Harper will throw their human rights under the bus in the blink of an eye.
When the Conservatives talk about overturning gay marriage, they're actually talking about overturning court decisions and Supreme Court rulings that gay people are deserving of equal rights, including the right to marry. As reported in June, 2005:
. . . if Harper's Tories should get in they would have only one tool to get rid of same-sex marriage most constitutional experts agree: the Charter's notwithstanding clause, a constitutional escape hatch which no federal government has ever used.
``They're going to have to at least be honest with the people,'' said Justice Minister Irwin Cotler. ``They're going to have to acknowledge that they want to override the (Charter of Rights), override constitutional-law decisions in nine jurisdictions in this country, override a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, override the rule of law in this country."
I guess China doesn't have a "notwithstanding" clause.
And you know how Canadian business traditionally supports the supposedly pro-business Tories? Well, I wonder what they're thinking now. With the softwood lumber sell-out and the income trusts debacle, and now the China freeze, business people must be starting to wonder whose side Harper is on.

Lee Marvin never had to worry about no stinking city councils

So last night we watched The Big Red One -- Lee Marvin and his merry men fight their way across French Africa, Sicily, Omaha Beach, Belgium, France and Czechoslovakia, virtually single-handedly winning World War II.
And today I read this (h/t Today in Iraq):
As Commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force during the lead-up to the war, Hagee was in charge of planning for the Marines' original push to Baghdad. So I asked him about one of the enduring mysteries of the invasion — why there was no real plan for running the country once Saddam Hussein fell from power.
Unfortunately, Hagee's comments only deepen the mystery. He says he was deeply concerned about who would take charge of major Iraqi cities, like Najaf, as the Marines pushed through them on their way to Baghdad.
Hagee says he asked his boss again and again who would take charge of those cities. He wanted to know what the plan was for Phase IV — military terminology for the phase that follows the end of major combat operations. Phase IV is, in other words, what comes after "mission accomplished." Hagee says that he sent his questions up the chain of command, as they say in the military — and never heard back.
How could they do such a poor job? Well, here's how.
Its because Lee Marvin never had to worry about setting up a civil authority to run Belgium after they mopped up the Nazis. John Wayne didn't rebuild St Mere Eglise, either, after The Longest Day.
Nope, they all gleefully leveled villages without the least concern about who was going to rebuild anything after they left.
And maybe this is why Rumsfeld and Cheney and all were caught flat-footed -- the war movies never bothered showing any of their war heros setting up city council elections.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"I'll bite your legs off"

Read this Glenn Greenwald column about the Iraq war promoters, and see if it doesn't remind you of something:
Once the U.S. invaded Iraq and realized that (a) the WMDs that "justified" the war didn't actually exist and (b) we were completely unprepared to fight the well-armed and well-planned insurgency, we had ample opportunity to adjust, change course, alter our objectives, or leave.
The reason we didn't is because the country was continuously lied to by the most morally depraved people one can fathom, who were so afraid of admitting error regarding the wisdom of the invasion that they kept insisting to Americans that things were going great and that everything would be fixed very soon . . .
Sounds like The Black Knight, doesn't it?
"I cut your arm off!" "No, you didn't!"
"Come on, you pansy!"
"Had enough, eh?"
"Just a flesh wound"
"I've cut your legs off!" "No, you didn't!"
"Call it a draw."
"You yellow bastard, I'll bite your legs off."

. . . it is truly unfathomable that the people who are responsible for this disaster -- not just the ones who advocated it in the beginning, but much worse, the ones who continued to insist that things were going well and that everything was progressing nicely and that reports to the contrary should be dismissed and ignored -- continue to be accorded respect and treated as though they have great credibility. Why is that?
And conversely, why are those who were so right and prescient and wise in their counsel treated as though they are lightweight, laughable morons who can't be "trusted with national security"? Why is it that when one watches news programs, one still encounters all of those smug, all-knowing little sneers whenever there is a reference to Howard Dean or Nancy Pelosi and national security, whereas John McCain and Charles Krauthammer and Robert Kagan and Lawrence Kaplan -- Iraq War lovers all -- are addressed with whispered reverence as we wait for their wise and weighty pronouncements about What We Should Do Next?
It's like watching a patient who has lost limbs and organs due to a surgeon's gross malpractice continue to return to that same surgeon for the next operation, while scoffing at the doctors who warned of the dangers . . .
Bartender Carrie thought of this comparison also.

Monday, November 13, 2006

For a few dollars more

When my daughter was in grade 8, she had to write a report on "buying" a piece of household equipment -- in her case, a stove. She had to compare prices and models, go to several stores to see what was best value, and visit the banks to arrange for a "loan".
Well, when we went to the bank, they told her they didn't lend such small amounts of money, about $500. Instead, they told her that people now used Visa cards for purchases like this.
Well, I wondered, what if you didn't HAVE a Visa card? What if you didn't make enough money to qualify for one? And what if you didn't want to pay 20 per cent interest? Does that mean you're not allowed to buy yourself a stove?
So it was interesting to see that this year's Nobel Peace Prize went to Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus, who invented microcredit.
He describes his innovation thusly: "Whatever banks did, I did the opposite." Words to live by.
And now he is leading the second Global Microcredit Summit in Halifax:

Nine years ago, the Microcredit Summit Campaign set a goal to lend money to 100 million of the world's poorest people - those living on less than US$1 a day - by the end of 2005.
Of the 113 million that received loans by the end of last year, only 82 million were considered the world's poorest, but the campaign expects to reach the 100-million goal this year.
Two new goals are the focus of the Halifax summit . . . to reach another 75 million of the world's poorest by 2015, and to ensure the loans help at least 100 million people live on more than a dollar a day.
For too long, our society has just accepted idea that 'the poor will always be with us' and there was nothing individually that anybody could do about poverty except earn enough money ourselves to give some of it away to relief agencies.
Now here is a man who used the skills and knowledge he had to do create something meaningful and directly helpful to millions of people. Its an inspirational example for us all.

. . . Peter MacKay. . . admitted he was awestruck when he first met Yunus before the summit. "You are immediately struck that you're in the presence of greatness," MacKay told a crowd at the summit's opening ceremonies on Sunday. "This man who is so soft-spoken, such an understated giant of a man, has literally changed the world."

Great line of the day

. . . In the middle of an intersection of roads lies a $100 bill. On the corners stand Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Continuing Sectarian Violence [in Iraq], and Something The U.S. Can Do That Will Save Iraq.
Who wins the race to the money? Continuing Sectarian Violence.
Why? Because the other three are figments of your *@%#ing imagination! . . .
From AJ at AMERICAblog. The whole post is a good one.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mission accomplished

And a lot more cartoons here on Daily Kos

Great line of the day

Wesley Clark talks to University of Arkansas students:
All wars are eventually about convincing your enemy not to fight.
He had some other interesting things to say too.

The Big Lie

The Big Lie is beginning -- the Lie that the American election was NOT about Iraq.
And the Republican goal is to convince Democrats to wimp out on their promises to the American people.
Karl Rove has already announced that it was corruption that caused people to vote Democratic -- for which, of course, the White House and Bush are completely blameless, innocent as the driven snow and all that.
Now, the Sunday talk shows are promoting part two of the strategy -- that it would be a great idea to increase the number of troops in Iraq, instead of decreasing them. Atrios says today:
Well, reading the tea leaves it's pretty clear what's going on. The Iraq Study Group which Democrats have decided is going to save them is going to recommend either sending in more troops (McCain/Lieberman position this morning) or beginning to bug out. Elite Consensus will tell us to double down one more time, send in another 30,000 troops or so, while condemning the Democrats as defeatists. There won't be enough Democrat support to use what little levers of power they have (not many) to force the administration's hand. So more American soldiers will have their lives disrupted and families torn apart, more of them will die, more Iraqis will die, so that soulless Joe "no one wants out of Iraq more than I do" Lieberman can prop up his feeling of self-importance.
God I hate these people.
The reason for pretending the election was not about Iraq is to undermine the Democrats -- because if the nation looks around in two years and finds that the US is STILL losing in Iraq, the Republicans can argue that the Democrats don't fulfull their promises so why bother to vote for them again.
And they might be right at that.
The Democrats have to remember to dance with the one that brung them. They can start by electing Murtha as majority leader in the House -- sending a clear signal that they support his strategy.
Because the Americans could send in 30,000 more troops, or 50,000 more, or 100,000 more, doesn't matter -- they're still going to lose in Iraq.

UPDATE: See Swopa over at Needlenose.


From the Globe and Mail

Saturday, November 11, 2006

New blogs

I've put some New Blogs up -- it was suggested in comments that I link to Rick Mercer's Blog so I did, and here's a great post about the income trust debacle:
. . . when Harper made this promise, I believed him. And so did a lot of seniors, apparently, because they kept investing in the bloody things. And why not? Harper’s entire shtick is that you can believe what he says. The entire raison d’être of the Harper government is: you may not like what we do, but we do what we say. Those Tories give you a promise, you can take it to the bank.
In fact if you go to a Harper rally, you can’t hear yourself think for all the Tories chanting “promise made, promise kept” over and over again like a herd of demented Moonies
. . . Well thank God that’s over. Because the next time Stephen Harper or any of his minions chant “promise made, promise kept,” you might want to step back, because if there is a God, the forecast calls for lightning
. . . yes, I know Harper has all sorts of excuses why he had to break his promise to seniors, but you know what? I don’t really care — because years ago I came to the conclusion that there were only two real reasons why politicians break their promises: You already voted for them and you already voted for them.
Also, I have linked to cartoonist August J. Pollak, a funny writer too, and to Ken Levin, about TV and movies.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Harper 1, Press Gallery 0

Remember the fight between Harper and the Ottawa Press Gallery over who got to ask questions at press conferences? Over at Rabble, Ira Basen reports that Harper won and the press gallery lost.
And actually, it was the public which lost:
. . . how many Canadians are lucid enough to notice what's really happening. The men and women of the Parliamentary Press Gallery are generally not sympathetic characters, and Harper took a low risk gamble when he decided to begin his assault on the press with them. In the end, few Canadians care who gets to ask questions at press conferences, and so long as the dispute continues to be framed that way, Harper's moves will cause him little harm.
But Canadians should care if their Prime Minister's real agenda is to de-certify the press; if, like George Bush, he believes that the national media's role in framing the democratic debate needs to be significantly reduced; if, while denouncing the press “filters,” he is actually advancing the idea that the information functions provided by his office through websites and podcasts have an equal legitimacy; and if by trying to control who gets to ask questions, and relying on sympathetic media and bloggers to get his message out, he actually believes it will “helpful for democracy.”
In the end, Stephen Harper's efforts to rollback the press may be more sophisticated and more subtle than the in-your-face tactics employed by the Bush White House. This is Canada after all! But the consequences are no less disturbing.
Harper may have won the battle, however, and be losing the war. No matter how it is spun, the Canadian public does manage to find out what the Conservatives are doing -- like here and here and here and here and here -- and that's just from today. Unless they start getting out in front of the news, it's not going to be pretty for the Conservatives.

Great line (of two days ago)

Tim at Peace, order and good government, eh?:
This election marks the twilight of neoconservatism as a credible philospohy, so Harper's brain trust in the Calgary School will now have to find a less idiotic guiding philosophy, like say tantric flying.

The independent socialist

I had wondered what Vermont was thinking -- here is the story behind "independent socialist" Bernie Saunders who will be the swing vote in the US Senate.
He's been promoting his own values and following his own principles all his life -- Washington should be terrified.

Great line of the day

Kos talking about James Carville's latest stupidity:
I doubt the state party chairs who provided Dean's margin of victory are going to get too torn up about the fact that Dean is helping fund their resurgence.
Carville needs to shut the fuck up. If he wants a war, we'll give him one.
And it won't be a war that DC can win.
There's more of us than there are of them.
Emphasis mine.

Changing the subject

But enough about the United States -- let's talk about Canada for a change.
Did you hear that Howard Dean will be talking to the Liberal convention?

Suitable for framing

This should be framed and hung in every Democrat's office:
This election is not a mandate; far from it. Your majorities are slim and your positions frankly precarious. You are on probation. You have two years to get this country in the mood to elect a Democrat to the presidency, and to generally see Democrats--and, by extension, liberals--as upright, forthright human beings. You will treat your fellow VIPs and your constituents with respect and dignity, while not letting them walk all over you. You will stand firm when it's called for and negotiate and compromise when it's called for. You are permitted exactly zero scandals, backstabbings, and slingings of mud. We are counting on you. Do not fuck this up.
UPDATE: And send two framed copies to that idiot James Carville, too. He can send the extra to Harold Ford.

Birth of a talking point

Glenn Greenwald on today's example of pund-idiocy from Charles Krauthammer:
The 2004 victory by President George W. Bush with a margin of 3.5 million votes (and by one closely decided state) was a "resounding endorsement" and a glorious triumph that vests the President with a powerful and clear "mandate." That was a "serious majority."
The 2006 victory by Democrats with a margin of 7 million votes was a victory by the "thinnest of margins" and was "razor-thin." It was a banal and weak outcome that was even "slightly below the post 1930 average for the six-year itch in a two-term presidency," and it was nothing more notable or meaningful than "an event-driven election that produced the shift of power one would expect when a finely balanced electorate swings mildly one way or the other.
Thanks, Charles, for straightening that out for everyone. I'm sure we'll see this talking point again and again and . . .

Little shop of horrors

Some fun now. Oh, we're in for some fun now.
The hearings about the nomination of Robert Gates to be Secretary of Defense have every potential of turning into a little shop of horrors for the Bush administration, considering who Gates is and his history with the Bushies:
. . . In 1991, when President George H. W. Bush nominated Robert Gates for the post of director of Central Intelligence, there was a virtual insurrection among CIA analysts who had suffered under his penchant for cooking intelligence. The stakes for integrity of analysis were so high that many still employed at the agency summoned the courage to testify against the nomination. But the fix was in, thanks to then-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee David Boren and his staff director, George Tenet. The issue was considered so important, however, that 31 senators voted against Gates when the committee forwarded his nomination. Never before or since has a CIA director nominee received so many nay votes.
Gates is the one most responsible for institutionalizing the politicization of intelligence analysis by setting the example and promoting malleable managers more interested in career advancement than in the ethos of speaking truth to power. In 2002, it was those managers who then-CIA Director George Tenet ordered to prepare what has become known as the "Whore of Babylon" – the Oct. 1 National Intelligence Mis-Estimate on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq . . .
No wonder Bush wants to try to get this nomination through the lame duck Congress rather than waiting until the Democrats are running the committees. But I wonder if Bush realizes how deeply Gates -- and his own father -- were involved in Iran-Contra?
I wonder if Bush even remembers what Iran-Contra was?

Thanks, Mike Stark

When we flew to Boulder in October, we sat next to a Virginia university professor on one leg of the trip. We chatted about politics and when I heard he was from Virgina I said, oh yes, Senator Macacaca vs Jim Webb -- he was stunned that someone from a prairie city in Canada knew about Allen, his racist history and his pro-Confederate ideology, and was rooting for Webb to win.
The reason I knew about it, of course, was because of the blogs.
The reason they knew about it -- as Steve Gilliard sees it -- is because of an ex-Marine law student blogger named Mike Stark:
Webb was going to lose this race. It was just that simple. He was underfunded, Allen was seen a presidential contender, and there had been a contentious primary. Things were so bad between Webb and black politicians that one of the leaders in the legislature endorsed Allen.
Then came Mike Stark.
Macaca set the stage. His bullying of a Webb campaign worker on video spread from the blogs to cable news to broadcast news. But Allen still had a lead and much good will.
The Webb campaign wanted no part of Stark, they wanted to fight with clean hands. And if they did, well, Webb would not be senator-elect. Even now, people are saying "oh, he was just showing off"
My simple response to that is shut the fuck up. Jim Webb is a senator because of the question he asked Allen in August. He asked him, on camera, "have you ever used the word nigger?" He said no, and then the election became a debate on Allen's racism. Not for a week, but for the entire cycle. Allen's sick racism shone through because people remembered his open contempt for blacks. He was one of those racists who called people niggers in rooms full of white people.
No MSM reporter was going to ask that, in any form. The right would have exploded. But once that was on the table, the MSM ran to daylight with it. Because there was so much to work with.
Then came his discomfort on finding out about his Jewish heritage. It really freaked out the media. The more you knew about Allen, the weirder he was. Beating his siblings, hanging a noose in his office.
Oh, yeah, then he decided to parse Webb's war novels.
Because it allowed other people to do what Webb wouldn't, discuss his military service, including winning the Navy Cross. Reminding people that Allen was a bully and a coward.
And in the last weekend of the campaign, Allen's goons beat Stark, then had him dragged out in handcuffs. Why? It sucked the air out of the room. As they tossed the former Marine and law student around for asking about Allen's sealed arrest record, they put the coda on Allen as bully for the world to see.
What was especially funny was the "help" the right bloggers gave......Mike. Their video and pictures proved his case. I think Cheetos rots the brain.
Webb won a tight race because the dynamics changed. And they changed because of a video and a question.
Harry Reid owes Stark a Thank You -- as do we all.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Synonyms for loser

. . . also-ran, bomb, bummer, bust, deadbeat, defeated, disadvantaged, dud, failure, fall guy, flop, flunkey, lemon, turkey, underdog, underprivileged, washout . . .
Bush, Cheney and the boys need to be hammered with a few of these synonyms for "loser real quick. Bilmon reports
The White House said today that it would seek Senate confirmation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s successor in the lame duck Congress that is about to reconvene.
And they're also talking about trying to get Bolton confirmed, for heaven's sake. Billmon asks
Will the Dems roll over (old habits die hard) or will they politely inform their Republican colleagues that if they go through with this travesty, they can expect to be assigned offices somewhere in lower Anacostia?
At least Charlie Rangel is starting off on the right foot.

Leaderless leaders

So maybe the Liberals should just cancel the convention?
A new poll suggests Alberta was the only remaining bastion of federal Conservative party support, with the leaderless Liberals leading the Tories in every other region of the country.
The Green Party, by the way, is now polling at nine per cent...


So I guess the chance that the Senate will confirm John Bolton as the US ambassador to the UN just vanished down the rabbit hole -- and as of January, he is officially out of the job (or I gather, he could keep on doing it but cannot be paid.)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Canadan example

Over at Kos, Georgia10 concludes that yesterday's election means America is becoming a progressive country:
. . . the governing ideology of conservatism is slipping out of favor with the American people. The decisive Democratic victory was a rejection of the conservativism peddled by this Republican Party
. . . When you can't get an abortion ban passed in freakin' South Dakota, America isn't trending conservative. When you can't get a gay marriage ban passed in Arizona, America isn't trending conservative. When opposition to gay marriage bans was more than 40% in 5 of the 8 bans that passed, America isn't trending conservative. When a majority of Americans choose Democrats to represent them, America isn't trending conservative.
America has changed a lot since the days of Reagan. It's changed even more since the GOP's Contract with America. Simply put, what Americans want is incompatible with what the GOP stands for today. America's appetite for the rapid, selfish conservatism of the last 12 years is waning, and the progressive ideology is becoming more attractive to more and more of its citizens.
Now, I'm not sure she is correct -- after 2004, Tom Delay crowed that America would be a Republican nation for ever, and look how THAT turned out. So I would need to see a few more elections go Democratic before I could agree with Georgia completely.
But that said, I do HOPE that this is true.
And I would like to think that maybe Canada has played a small part in this -- showing America by example how a progressive country does things.
We approved gay marriage, and the churches of the nation didn't collapse.
We talked about legalizing marijuana, and the justice system didn't explode.
Our first, and preferred, option for dealing with problems is always negotiation, not force or bluster -- we don't indulge ourselves in ridiculous talk about 5,000 mile fences and flattening the UN and nuking the Middle East.
We elected a Conservative government, but we still have medicare and we still have government pensions and no one is babbling about drowning government in a bathtub.
We have lots of arguments, and lots of challenges, but most of the time Canadians are confident that we find a way to make things better.
And that's how a progressive country acts, I think.

What's funny

You know what's funny?
If Rumsfeld had been fired a week before the election instead of the day after, Bush might well have pulled it off.
He only needed a few thousand more votes in Montana or Virginia or Missouri to save the Senate -- and maybe these Republican stay-at-homes would have turned out if they hadn't been so disheartened by Bush's "stay the course" rhetoric.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Great news

Well, that's a relief:
Even a Democratic sweep of Tuesday's mid-term elections won't undermine Canada's strong relationship with the United States, says U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins.
And here I had thought it was those dastardly Republicans who wanted to build a fence along the border and who said Canada was a "terrorist haven" and who stopped Americans from buying cheaper Canadian drugs and who are disputing our ownership of the Northwest Passage and ...

Rider Pride

Kenton Keith and the boys won big today! Next stop, the Western Final...

On, Roughriders! On, Roughriders!
Plunge right through that line!
Run the ball clear down the field,
A touchdown sure this time.
On, Roughriders! On, Roughriders!
Fight on for your fame
Fight! Fellows! - fight, fight, fight!
We'll win this game. *

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Yes, it DOES look like Iraq!

Remember this?

Great line of the day

I found this linked on another blog but I apologize that now I cannot credit it -- at first, I wasn't sure whether I understood the argument here, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made as an explanation of the Ted Haggards of this world.
From Steve Schalchlin's blog Living In The Bonus Round, On Manhood, Women and Homosexuals:
. . . evangelicals, for the most part, do not believe that homosexuality, as an orientation, actually exists. For them, ALL "homosexuals" are actually heterosexuals who've been either seduced into gay sex or fallen into it because they got demasculinized by women . . . One of the psychiatrists, Dr. Paul Cameron, whom they both embrace and reject in varying ways, teaches that gay sex is way more fun than straight sex and, therefore, all straight men could turn gay if exposed to gay sex . . . Their total denial of the FACT of homosexual persons is what drives men like Ted Haggard into a marriage, and then, subsequently, into the arms of a male hustler. The drugs, IMO, were not only about enhancing the sex act itself, but they also enabled him, in those hours alone with the muscle guy, to forget the wife and kids and career as a gay-hatin' leading light of the evangelical movement. . .

Friday, November 03, 2006

Another heckuva job

So, the Bush administration thought they were being so-o-o-o-o clever by scheduling the Saddam trial verdict for two days prior to the mid-terms. They thought it would reinforce their "look how safe we've made you" theme. Instead, its going to reinforce the Democrat's "look how violent Iraq is" theme:
Many of Saddam's fellow Sunni Arabs, along with some Shiites and Kurds, are predicting a firestorm of violence if the court sentences the ex-president to death, as is widely expected . . . But most Shiites, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, are likely to be enraged if he escapes the gallows.
So either way, Iraq will explode by Monday morning.

Horse rescue

BBC photos tell the story of the Dutch horse rescue, a story which has been reported around the world.

The horses were stranded at a farm north of Amsterdam when the land around them flooded.

The nearest land was only a few hundred metres away but there were fears that submerged barbed wire might hurt the horses if they tried to swim to safety.

Animal welfare officers and firefighters waded through the waters to map out an escape route.

Four women from a local riding club then led the herd to safety.

The one horse that failed to follow the herd was eventually brought to safety, but collapsed and needed attention from veterinarians. It is expected to recover completely.


Sorry for the lack of posts - I've been fighting a cold.
I couldn't help but notice this one -- considering today's events, Wolcott turns out to be a prophet:
. . . All Republican political figures are gay, especially the men. When President Bush insists on kissing one bald head after another, the psychosexual symbolism speaks for itself. He's planting his lips on big uncircumcised Kojak peckers. When Rush Limbaugh packs his Viagra and jets off on a tropical jaunt with the guys, it's assumed there are saucy wenches awaiting him under the sultry palms, but I wonder--I wonder if it's cabana boys making the hammock sway under the moonlight. Republican women--those masochistic saints--are more like Joan Allen playing Pat Nixon under layers of frosting, their rigid smiles forged by years of living a lie with a man infatuated with other men and too timid to take out a subscription to Details magazine, lest he be exposed. The closet in which he dwells doubles as a panic room with a convenient minibar, so that if he ever stumbles or strays, he can blame it on the creme de menthe, not the burning yearning of his heart. . .
Who's next?
Because of Iraq

These "VoteVets" ads are very strong and here's the best one yet.